PLAISTOW — It was a grind for the full 48 minutes, and Manchester Central did more things right in a 14-7 win over Timberlane on Friday night
The Little Green defense held the Owls to 194 total yards of offense and held back a final Timberlane drive with sacks from Jassiah Francis and Adam Kenzou. The Central defense forced nine plays for negative yardage.
“Jassiah Francis, man,” Central junior Joshua Jerome said. “I’ve been playing with him since the fourth grade. That kid’s a monster. Those kids are all studs. They know what they’re doing.”
Central improved to 1-1, while Timberlane dropped to 0-2.
With the front seven locking it down for the defense, it allowed the skill players to figure out the Owls and find holes.
Jerome broke the game open with a 66-yard touchdown run down the sideline in the second quarter. Jerome also had an interception and five tackles, one of which turned the Owls over on downs.
“Our coach had told me earlier in the game to bounce it outside and you got it up the sideline,” Jerome said. “I trust my coaches, and it paid off.”
The Little Green got a big game from junior tailback Joshua Sanchez, who had 11 touches, all in the second half, and had a team-high 78 rushing yards.
Central quarterback Tyler Gilroy went 7-18 for 87 yards and Central’s second touchdown, a 12-yard connection to senior Andrew Canotas.
“We’re still trying to find our identity and we need to do that pretty quickly,” Central coach Ryan Ray said. “We’ve got to make sure that we’re making good mental decisions. Coaches make good mental decisions, players make good mental decisions and we’ll have to go from there.”
Timberlane didn’t get a first down until almost halfway through the second quarter. The Owls’ lone scoring drive, which ended in a 1-yard run from senior quarterback Jared Morrison, accounted for one-third of the team’s yards.
Senior running back Evan Sapienza had 84 yards on 24 carries for the Owls.
“I think both defenses played really well for the most part,” Ray said. “We had a couple of big plays we were able to take advantage of and that was the difference in the game. I think we’re two well-matched teams. It was a good, close game to the finish.”